India has been increasingly looking to Russia, to cover its energy and raw materials needs, with coal being no exception. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Banchero Costa said that “after a slow start in the first quarter, global coal trade has really picked up pace last year, and is now fully back to pre-Covid levels. In the full 12 months of 2022, total global seaborne coal loadings increased by +5.8% y-o-y to 1204.8 mln t (excluding cabotage), from 1138.3 mln t in the full 12 months of 2021, although still below the 1275.6 mln t in Jan-Dec 2019. As already mentioned, the worst was at start of the year, and the trend in recent months has been increasingly positive. In 1Q 2022, global loadings were down -4.8% y-o-y to just 257.4 mln t, and down -20.3% from 1Q 2019. In 2Q 2022, coal loadings were a strong +8.5% y-o-y at 313.8 mln t, and down -4.1% from 2Q 2019. In 3Q 2022, shipments increased again to 317.2 mln t, up +6.3% y-o-y, and just -0.7% from 3Q 2019”.
According to the shipbroker, “in 4Q 2022, loadings were 316.5 mln t, up +12.9% y-o-y from 4Q 2021, and -0.6% from 4Q 2019. In Jan-Dec 2022, exports from Indonesia increased by +21.1% y-o-y to 388.8 mln t, whilst from Australia down -5.0% y-o-y to 340.4 mln t. Seaborne coal imports into the European Union surged by +34.0% yo-y to 116.6 mln t in Jan-Dec 2022, whilst imports to India increased by +13.6% y-o-y to 203.8 mln t, and imports to China declined by -3.2% y-o-y to 234.7 mln t. India is the world’s second largest seaborne importer of coal after Mainland China, accounting for 17.2% of the global seaborne coal market in 2022. Import volumes into India were relatively depressed during 2020 and 2021, due to disruption from Covid19, but bounced back to near alltime records in 2022.
Total seaborne coal imports into India in the 12 months of 2022 reached 203.8 mln tonnes, according to Refinitiv vessel tracking data. This was up +13.6% y-o-y from the 179.5 mln tonnes of 2021, and +10.9% from the 183.8 mln t in 2020, but still -1.7% below the 207.3 mln t in 2019. About 60 percent of coal imports into India are delivered to the East coast of the country, primarily to the states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. The majority of the rest is discharged in the North-Western state of Gujarat, India’s most industrialized state, which alone accounts for 30 percent of India’s total coal imports. The main coal import terminals in India are: Mundra in Gujarat (19.7 mln t discharged in Jan-Dec 2022), Dhamra in Odisha (19.4 mln t), Gangavaram in Andhra Pradesh (17.4 mln t), Paradip (16.7 mln t), Krishnapatnam (15.5 mln t), Visakhapatnam (14.5 mln t), Kandla (14.2 mln t), Haldia (12.4 mln t), Jaigad (10.5 mln t), Hazira (8.5 mln t), Mormugao (8.3 mln t), Ennore (8.1 mln t), Dahej (7.1 mln t), Tuticorin (4.9 mln t), Navlakhi (3.6 mln t), Mumbai (3.5 mln t), Kakinada (2.8 mln t)”.
Banchero Costa added that “the majority (50%) of coal volumes into India are loaded on Capesize vessels, with 38% on Panamax or Post-Panamax vessels, and just 12% on Handy or Supramax tonnage. Trade patterns for Indian imports saw significant shifts due to both commercial and political factors. Indonesia continues to be the top exporter of coal to India, accounting for 43.3% of volumes in 2022. In Jan-Dec 2022, shipments from Indonesia to India rebounded by +72.3% y-o-y to 88.2 mln tonnes, but are still below the 91.9 mln t in 2019. About 25.9% of imports, 52.8 mln t, were shipped from Australia, representing an decline of -25.89% y-o-y from 71.2 mln t in 2021. Shipments from Russia surged by +163.3% y-o-y to 17.9 mln tonnes, with Russia now accounting for 8.8% of Indian coal imports. South Africa exported 17.5 mln tonnes of coal to India in 2022, down -30.3% y-o-y. Imports from the USA declined by -4.2% y-o-y to 14.6 mln t. Volumes from Mozambique increased by +120.1% y-o-y to a record 6.7 mln tonnes in 2022”, the shipbroker concluded.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide